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Years ago, I aspired to be a cult figure in the entertainment world. I always dug cats like Bro. Dave Gardner and Lord Buckley. I wanted to combine old school Boogie Woogie piano with highbrow/lowbrow hijinks and bring good music and good times to the club scene.
Since my first solo club gig in August of 1979, I’ve traveled the world Rockin’ the Ivories and (hopefully) leaving them rolling in the aisles.
I recently recorded my tenth national release featuring the legendary Nighthawks, and begun touring again. Over the years I have opened for such diverse acts as: Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, The Beach Boys, Boz Scaggs (ten times), The B 52’s, Bob Weir, Dr. John (6 times), Sinbad, Taj Mahal, The Chicago Knockers Mudwrestling Troupe, Little Jimmy Dickens, Emmy Lou Harris, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Delbert McClinton, Paul Butterfield, NRBQ, Steppenwolf.
I have performed on the Legendary Blues Cruise twelve times as a musical headliner and guest lecturer (see below).
The newest album “Full Circle” on the Ellersoul label, has been receiving national airplay on the Bright House Channel.
Along with club and concert venues, the House Concert circuit has been a good match for filling in tour dates. My combination of songs and road stories (and I do have some!) brings a nice change to the normally mellow market. Here’s a clip from a recent show:
Flipping In, Part Two:
After getting back on my feet, I realized that after multiple decades, I still enjoy playing , traveling around , eating in truck stops and getting paid to sing “Stick Out Yer Can.,” but something was missing.
There was an itch that needed scratching:
There was a story in need of telling.
The story of Blues and Rhythm and Blues is indeed worth telling, and I decided to begin to tell it a series of one hour lectures I call:
“Your Roots Are Showing.”
The presentation I will be bringing to your event will be called:
Shake, Rattle And Roll- The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Birth of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Filled with a diverse cast of characters a writer couldn’t dream up, from stomping Boogie Woogie piano players to legendary guitar gods and goddesses. From serious gangsters who bankrolled the clubs, to the men, women and “others” who blazed the Chitlin’ Circuit trail, it’s the story of a parallel universe along the highways and backroads of the South in the days of Segregation and the new music after WWII that began showing up on jukeboxes in the Carolinas and on all night radio shows from far away, it rocked the hearts of young returning vets and it will roll its way into your heart, guaranteed.
The backstory is one of ultimate diversity in the face of adversity. Small independent record labels owned mostly by Eastern European Jewish immigrants featuring Black artists from Mississippi and Texas, suddenly found themselves selling thousands of records to White teenagers in the South. When this music reached England and Europe, it changed the Western Culture, and continues to do so.
Using video, audio, and live piano examples, I show how Boogie Woogie and Blues left the lumber camps, began along the circuit, and evolved into Rock ‘N’ Roll. Along the way, I touch on Gospel, Jazz, and lesser-known styles, and discuss how external forces after WWII, changes in technology and radio stations like WLAC, shaped the music as well.